NEC lifts lid on next-generation HD-DVD drive

NEC lifts lid on next-generation HD-DVD drive

Summary: A prototype half-height optical drive could give the high-density DVD format the edge over Blu-ray

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TOPICS: Emerging Tech
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NEC has developed a prototype optical drive with a single optical head that can read CDs, DVDs and high-density DVDs.

The drive, announced on Monday, appears to solve some of the compatibility issues that are consuming the DVD world. NEC says its lens is the first to be able to read and write to all three formats.

HD-DVD, DVD and CD systems each contain lasers that produce light of a different wavelength. Because NEC's prototype can read all three formats using this single optical head, the drive is small enough to be fitted into a desktop PC.

"The development of drive firmware technology, system LSI technology and HD DVD/DVD/CD-compatible optical head technology enables realisation of a compact HD DVD drive and its ease of incorporation into personal computers," said NEC in a statement.

NEC says the device will be on display at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) at the start of next year. It could be commercially available later in 2005.

The HD-DVD format -- proposed by NEC and Toshiba earlier this year -- can hold many times more data than a standard DVD, and is one two formats jostling to be the successor to DVD. Its rival is Blu-ray, backed by Sony, Panasonic and Philips, among others.

Topic: Emerging Tech

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  • Lately, I'm backing NEC. With my NEC MultiSpin 8v drive still turning my discs, I'll vouch for them any day! Contributing to my support decision is my late experience of ALL my Sony devices dying. I can't believe they just stopped working... not a gradual, "oh, my disc is having trouble being read" or "my pendrive doesn't seem to hold data anymore"; just, stopped working! If we're going to make something, let's do it right the first time and quit screwing around.
    anonymous
  • Everyone knows the cold reception you recieve at a Sony shop, I do hate Sony for that. There product reputation still holds strong but I don't think people are fussing with lables too much now, not as much as they used to.

    I prefer Sony's offering, I think it'll be best. However their service is so shite, they really do not deserve the title they have nower days, service is what really counts.

    Items fitting into the digital home are bound to go wrong, when some household appliance does not network properly who are you going to call.

    NEC or Sony, probrably neither.
    anonymous